Monday, June 05, 2006

# Posted 6:46 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

LIVE A LIE. BLOG THE TRUTH. This is my incredibly positive review of Anonymous Lawyer, a soon-to-be-published satire by Jeremy Blachman. It is a page-turner that you will race through as fast as you can, provided that you can stop yourself from laughing out loud every few minutes.

Anonymous Lawyer is the story of an unnamed partner at a major corporate lawfirm who takes vicious delight in tormenting absolutely everyone below him on the totem pole. Associates. Paralegals. Secretaries. Everyone.

However, the anonymous narrator just can't keep his thoughts to himself, so he begins to blog about his casual sadism at the office. The question is, can he keep his identity a secret? (No, of course not. That's what the story is about.)

In what may be a fictional first, Anonymous Lawyer tells its story almost entirely in the form of a series of blog posts, with a few e-mail exchanges thrown in. But this is only natural for a book that began its life as a blog, also entitled Anonymous Lawyer, "Stories from the trenches, by a fictional hiring partner at a large law firm in a major city".

So just how incredibly funny is this book? First of all, be warned. Blachman's sense of humor is profoundly black. On the very first page of the book, the narrator decides to identify his constantly overworked junior colleagues by a series of stabbing pseudonyms:
"The Short One, The Dumb One, The One With The Limp, The One Who's Never Getting Married, The One Who Missed Her Kid's Funeral."
The word "funeral" hit me like a baseball bat to the back of the head. What did this lawyer miss? Her kid's piano recital? Bar mitzvah? Liver transplant? Oh my God. Did he just say "funeral"? That is the sickest, most appalling, most inhuman and unspeakably funny thing I've heard in a very long time. I knew right then and there that this book was a winner.

Anonymous Lawyer is also remarkable because it forces you to sympathize with its malevolent and misanthropic protagonist. You may hate his guts, but his observations about about himself and his colleagues are so insightful that you have to believe he really isn't such a terrible person. Sort of like Woody Allen. He's so honest about his neuroses that I will still watch his films even after he divorces Soon Yi and marries her daughter.

I also want to assure you that you will find this book hilarous even if you don't know the first thing about the law. It is just a story about human beings who happen to practice the law but obviously don't care about it all.

But if you are a lawyer, you will adore this book even more. Last week, my girlfriend and the other junior associates at her big corporate law firm discovered the book's promotional website, Anonymous Law Firm. Although they presumably have more important things to do, they sound found themselves all gathered around one monitor, cackling gleefully and periodically chanting, "It's so true! It's so true!"

If you are a lawyer, buy this book. If you know a lawyer, buy him or her this book. If you're a partner at a law firm, buy all existing copies of this book and burn them before your subordinates have a chance to read it. Then call up the IT department and have it block access to Jeremy Blachman's web site and blog. It's your only hope.
(3) opinions -- Add your opinion

HuhCorp is a very similar satire, based on an advertising firm.
But see http://tedfrank.com/archives/archive_2006_05_28-2006_06_03.shtml#1149360578

(a very persuasive and less glowing review from Ted Frank)
how could this be isn't that a strange ?
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